Director: Hardik Mehta
Starring: Sanjay Mishra, Deepak Dobriyal, Manoj Bakshi, Avatar Gill
Screenplay: Hardik Mehta
Dialogue: Radhika Anand
A gentle tribute to the unsung side hero in Bollywood films, Hardik Mehta’s meta movie turns the spotlight on to the central character of KAAMYAAB, Sudheer and, perforce, Sanjay Mishra. Casting Mishra as an erstwhile character actor with 499 movie roles to his credit was an inspired move. Mishra, out of the shadow of any Bollywood superstar headliner, sheds his leaning on over-the-top comedy to inhabit Sudheer’s world.
Now in his twilight years, alerted to the list of 499 entries on IMDb, Sudheer’s mission is to land one more part and round of his achievements to an impressive 500. So what if that filmography includes titles he would rather forget, such as ‘Honeymoon Akele Akele’, but there is no getting away from one iconic dialogue: “Bus, enjoying life Aur option kya hai,” that still follows him around. A colleague encourages Sudheer to return to work, and occupy the space vacated by Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher,. Energised by the potential of a score of 500, Sudheer slips on a 1970-style wig, flashy shirt, polished shoes, and shades, and swaggers into a casting director Gulati’s (Deepak Dobriyal) office. He is caught in bit of a time warp.
Through the audition, casting, and shooting processes, Sudheer fumbles to adjust to new methods of filmmaking. Technically the film is good, cinematography by Piyush Puty is amazing, editing by Prashanth Ramchandarn is crisp. Production value is wonderful. Performances wise Sanjay Mishra is the heart of the film and he lives up to it through his performance. Deepak Dobriyal is spot on, Avtar Gill plays an actor called Avtar Gill, and it’s all very meta: is the version of Gill we see on screen as insecure and annoying as Gill who is playing him?
As a director, Mehta never strays far from the meta themes though. While he doffs a hat to Tun Tun, Bob Christo, and Keshto Mukherjee among others, a host of fitting cameos make fleeting appearances too. All the while, Mehta keeps the tone humorous, often satirical, tinged with pathos, and always respectful.